totter

1 of 2

verb

tot·​ter ˈtä-tər How to pronounce totter (audio)
tottered; tottering; totters

intransitive verb

1
: to move unsteadily : stagger, wobble
2
a
: to tremble or rock as if about to fall : sway
b
: to become unstable : threaten to collapse

totter

2 of 2

noun

: an unsteady gait : wobble

Examples of totter in a Sentence

Verb The child tottered across the room. He tottered away to bed.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Rimal, the chubby-cheeked baby, recently began tottering around on her own two feet. Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, 20 Nov. 2023 Past the age of fifty, the supple cynosure of the salons turned into something of a tottering wreck. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 4 Sep. 2023 In 2022, Cohen took a big stake in the tottering home goods giant, prodding the company to install three allies as board members and publicly floating his ideas for revitalizing the business. Rob Wile, NBC News, 31 July 2023 Today, the once tottering Assad regime is mopping up the last remnants of opposition and reestablishing control. Maha Yahya, Foreign Affairs, 15 Oct. 2019 Who totter toward the tree, eyes big. John Kelly, Washington Post, 6 Dec. 2020 Until that happens, Auburn will continue to totter offensively in search of answers. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, 12 Oct. 2022 And if that feels like too much heel to totter around in, a classic sneaker, such as Nike’s Air Jordans, is a perfect pairing for another classic: a Dior suit. WSJ, 23 Aug. 2022 There is a tortuous pleasure in watching the book totter under the weight of its contradictions. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 17 Jan. 2022
Noun
Minilla defeats him by luring him to a monster-sized teeter totter and launching him into the air. Richard Newby, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Dec. 2023 There will be the comic teeter-totter pageantry behind Biden as Kamala Harris continually rises to offer fervent applause while Kevin McCarthy sits glowering. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 6 Feb. 2023 Passersby couldn’t help but spot the eight-foot long, bright yellow teeter-totter, ridden by the youth of the church the weekend of March 19-20, in an effort to raise funds for local non-profit agencies. Rich Heileman, cleveland, 30 Dec. 2022 Too many economists who damned well should know better at this point still hold to a theory called the Phillips Curve, which claims an inverse, teeter-totter relationship between inflation and unemployment rates. Erik Sherman, Forbes, 18 Dec. 2022 The whole book feels like a teeter-totter between the author’s own hero worship of the subject and his gawking at the tragedy. Jason Diamond, Bon Appétit, 9 Nov. 2022 Two flaps beneath the nose work in tandem with the tail configuration to keep the air pressure level across the car, eliminating the teeter-totter effect. Basem Wasef, Robb Report, 22 Oct. 2022 The Mets had not lost a series all season, but that streak sailed when the Seattle Mariners closed out a teeter-totter affair Sunday. New York Times, 15 May 2022 Passersby couldn’t help but spot the eight-foot long, bright yellow teeter-totter, ridden by youth of the church the weekend of March 19-20, in an effort to raise funds for local non-profit agencies. Rich Heileman, cleveland, 25 Mar. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'totter.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English toteren

First Known Use

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Noun

1709, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of totter was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near totter

Cite this Entry

“Totter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/totter. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

totter

verb
tot·​ter
ˈtät-ər
1
: to sway or rock as if about to fall
2
: to move unsteadily : stagger
tottery
-ə-rē
adjective

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